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Starting out with GP Smart Referrals

Oct 07, 2020

IMG 2010 Starting out with GP Smart Referrals WEB

“I love that you can submit a Smart Referral and it can’t be declined from the hospital. Once it’s complete, with all the criteria addressed, then it is on its way.”

Dr James Martin

Local GP Dr James Martin, recently introduced to GP Smart Referrals by the PHN’s Digital Support Officer Donna Hayward, said the program is changing the way he manages referrals.

Dr Martin, a GP at Pebble Beach Medical Centre at Sandstone Point, also works as a General Practice Liaison Officer for the PHN and Metro North Hospital and Health Service.

Dr Martin said the limited time GPs are able to dedicate to referrals was an initial hurdle to getting started with the new system, but since putting in some time each week he has been able to make the most of Smart Referrals.

“After I’d tried GP Smart Referrals a few times I had a visit from Donna and that was really helpful in ironing out a few problems and understand how to make the most of it,” Dr Martin said.

“I love that you can submit a Smart Referral and it can’t be declined from the hospital. Once it’s complete, with all the criteria addressed, then it is on its way.”

GP Smart Referrals, rolled out by Metro North Hospital and Health Service and Brisbane North PHN in April, is now live in 133 general practices across the region.

Another 68 practices are registered and ready to go live, which equals 71 per cent of practices within the North Brisbane and Moreton Bay region.

GP Smart Referrals allows those involved in patient care to better manage the patient journey, improve patient safety and reduce outpatient wait times.

Pebble Beach Medical Centre went live with GP Smart Referrals in June and Dr Martin has found that one of the benefits is a greater ability to quickly and easily modify existing referrals, compared to previous systems.

Other benefits to using the system include an integrated service directory and automatic software updates.

“(The integrated) searches on the referral destinations have been helpful, and waiting times are easily available as well. Sometimes you see something (in the service directory) that you didn’t expect.

“You don’t have to keep updating templates, so from a practice management perspective it helps ease the administrative burden,” he said.

“My colleagues haven’t completely embraced GP Smart Referrals yet but it’s just a matter of time. Looking at my own experience, I was enthusiastic about it but it has taken me a little while to get used to it, and we have just had so little wiggle room in terms of time. The PHN’s Digital Health Support Officer Donna Hayward said the rollout of GP Smart Referrals has been overwhelmingly positive from the PHN’s perspective.

“We have been receiving some good feedback and GPs are enjoying the function allowing PDF attachments to be included in referrals.

“As this is a new system it does take a little bit of getting used to but once they do embrace it they love it,” Ms Hayward said.

Documents or imaging, including clinical letters, ECG traces, spirometry reports and photographs can be attached to the referral; saving administration time with the elimination of faxing supporting documents or diagnostic testing.

“In the old referral systems, one barrier used to be not being able to attach documents so this function is really handy, although I haven’t manage to master this just yet.” General practices in the North Brisbane and Moreton Bay region that have compatible software can register to have GP Smart Referrals installed.

Dr Martin’s top tips for GP Smart Referrals:

  • Get some help from the PHN’s Digital Support Officers to learn how to attach documents.
  • Master the keyboard shortcuts to help with copying and pasting information within fields.
  • Expand the small text boxes to provide more space while typing.

The PHN is offering an online GP Smart Referrals training session on Tuesday 27 October 2020. For more information contact our Digital Health Support Officers via GPSR@brisbanenorthphn.org.au or to register to attend click here.

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